Winter Wonderland

The winter solstice arrives at 12:11 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 21, marking the shortest day of the year. On that day the United States will get just nine hours and 32 minutes of daylight.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Spiced Wine (Wassail)

4 small apples
1 cup of cane sugar (you can use maple or agave syrup instead, if desired
1 medium orange
10 whole cloves
8 – 10 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 an inch of fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 whole allspice berries
2-3 cinnamon sticks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you core your apples—don’t peel them. Fill each apple cavity with a teaspoon or so of sugar or syrup, and then place the apples on a baking sheet. Stud the orange with the cloves, place that on the baking sheet too, and bake all the fruit for 30-40 minutes.

While the apples and orange bake, pour your wine and brandy into a heavy stock pot and warm over low heat. Once it’s warmed a bit, use a whisk to blend in the nutmeg, but do not allow the liquid to come to a boil. Place the allspice, ginger, and cinnamon in a strainer bag (or even a tea ball) and float that in the wine as it warms. Let this steep for about 20 minutes, then pour it into a punch bowl, float the apples and orange in it, and stir it around so all the flavors can combine. Give your guests mugs and a ladle to play with and let the good times roll.

*Steps in and takes a bow*… winter greetings my dear lady and all those present! Thank you for this great thread, and I do believe that it is shaping up quite nicely. Here are a couple of anime themed chilly backgrounds that I dug up from my collection… enjoy! :sunglasses:

:arrow_down: If you're interested in a background below, just click on it to view and download the full-sized version. :arrow_down: